Investment dollars are at serious risk in an age of transparency for governments and companies alike, and investors can be fickle when it comes to market moving events that stem from breaches of ESG (environmental, social, governance) factors. Meanwhile, major investment firms want business to equate with social good, as well as to avoid major diplomatic disasters (think: SoftBank at the moment).
BlackRock’s Larry Fink made a splash earlier this year at Davos by trying to identify a moral compass for financial services on the topic of inclusion. His sentiments have been echoed by our own industry contacts, some who question: “what has ethical tech accomplished really?”
About five years ago, Robo Global became the first company to launch a benchmark series tracking the robotics and artificial intelligence “revolution”. Robo Global’s CEO for EMEA, Richard Lightbound, said that back then interested investors wanted to know things like business fundamentals, index members’ growth potential, or total cost of return of the index-based fund.
That’s no longer true, he writes: “Today, the first question from nearly every investor I speak with is: “What is your ESG policy?'”